Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Shepard's Pi

I just realized that my last post was about failure. And it was almost 4 months ago. Oops. I admit to my woeful neglect of the blog and I would like to blame it 100% on the final 8 months of my Master's program. Somewhere between a full time job, classes, thesis project, and, like, a husband - the blog just got lost. But I have been cooking. Occassionally. And sometimes I even remember to take pictures. And because of that, I have about a dozen recipes with edited photos ready to post, but no story to go with them. I hope to find a few minutes to at least post them. Most of them are warm and toasty winter recipes that will seem silly to post if it gets any warmer. And now that I am trapped in my apartment, thanks to the 8" of snow we've had in Seattle - it has CRIPPLED the city - I've had some wine, and a mug cake, and lots of dinner, and now I'm ready to type a little. But just a little.

Once upon a time, I made pot roast from Guy Fieri. And there was lots of leftovers for just the two of us. And I made it with mashed potatoes. And I knew what I wanted to do with the leftovers: Shepard's Pie! I love a good casserole, and I love transforming leftovers into something difference because here's a secret: I. Hate. Leftovers. I can't stand them. They're dry, and mushy, and almost Never as good as the original. So, by adding a little moisture and fresh ingredients, you can take boring, dry leftovers and turn it into a warm, gooey casserole that will soothe your cold, winter soul. And, AND!!, it's a one-pot meal. I love one-pot meals. Enough veggies that you don't need a side-dish. Unless you're some weird nursing student with a veggie-obsession (previous comment is without judgement to nursing students - I love you all. And veggies. I love veggies. Never mind). Anyways - one pot meals are GREAT. And awesome for dishes. I hate to do dishes. I'm really lucky that my husband does them. Three cheers for fewer dishes! You save water. Do it for the environment. That's right - I made the jump - this dish will help you save the environment.

Shepard's Pie
You can use any variety of leftovers for this - I happened to have pot roast, gravy, and mashed potatoes left. If you are missing any, you can replace cooked ground beef for pot roast. You can make a gravy (from a packet or from a roux with beef broth). Mashed potatoes are easy and (if you're into that sort of thing) you can even use instant flakes - don't judge, I used to eat them all the time. They're FINE. And cheap. If you're feeling really wild and crazy, you can substitute chicken or turkey for the beef, and add poultry-based gravy or broth. Go crazy.

2 Tbl olive oil
2 Tbl butter
1 onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
1 pint mushrooms, sliced (about 2 cups - or exactly, if you're into conversions like that)
1/2 cup red wine
~1 pound of beef (ground, roast, whatever)
2 cups gravy (or beef broth would work if you were desperate)
2 cups leftover mashed taters

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter and olive oil over medium heat to an oven-proof pan (enameled cast-iron works great for this). Add the onion with a large pinch of salt. Heat until translucent.

2. Add the carrots and celery and saute for about 3 minutes.

3. Add the mushrooms and wine. As much wine as feels right. Be bad - it's cold outside. Cook until wine evaporates. But just barely.

4. Add the beef. Where's the beef??

5. Stir in the gravy.

6. Spread the mashed potatoes on top.

7. Put the whole pot, uncovered, in the oven. Bake until lightly browned and bubbly - about 30 minutes. At this point, everything is cooked - it's just melding flavors.

8. Yum-town - population, YOU!

1 comment:

  1. Leftovers recreated help save the environment? That's something every hippy has to love! PS - I've missed your blogs. Silly time consuming thesis, life and graduate school. Pssft.